What do Americans make of QAnon?

October 23, 2020, 7:00 PM UTC

Two thirds of Americans (68%) have heard at least a little about QAnon, the conspiracy theory that claims that top Democrats are involved in a child sex trafficking ring, according to the latest Economist/YouGov poll.

Almost eight in ten Joe Biden voters (78%) have heard of the theory, compared to 60% of President Donald Trump voters. Biden voters are more than twice as likely to say they have heard “a lot” about QAnon compared to their Republican counterparts (32% vs 12%). 

Awareness of QAnon differs little by age or geography, but there is a gender difference: men are almost twice as likely as women to have heard a lot about the theory (29% vs 16%). The gender gap in attention exists within voting groups as well. 

Democratic voters who have heard something about QAnon overwhelmingly reject it (82%), but only 34% of Republicans say the same. In fact, almost three in ten Republicans who have heard the theory say they have a favorable view of it (29%). Republicans aware of QAnon are also far more likely to say they don’t know how to feel about it (37%, vs 8% of Democrats). 

Among Republicans, men are more positive about QAnon than women are. There are also sizeable differences between Republicans with and without college degrees, with the latter group more likely to approve. 

Questioned on the portion of Trump’s town hall response where he said “I know nothing about QAnon” except that “they are very strongly against pedophilia and I agree with that”, voters tend to see this as a bad remark. More than four in ten label it a “bad response”, compared to one in three who consider it a “good response”. As ever, partisans heard different things: 71% of Democrats described it as a bad response; 64% of Republicans heard it as a good response. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 registered voters interviewed online between October 18 - 20, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 2.9% for the overall sample.

Image: Getty